With your sewing skills growing, you are ready to advance to a machine with more bells and whistles. That may leave you wondering – what happens to the machine you started with? What will you do with it?
When I started sewing, I bought a Kenmore machine that would allow me to sew and embroider. I didn’t buy it because it was the best on the market, or because user reviews recommended it. I bought it because I could charge it to my Sears credit card.
As it turned out, the machine was perfect for me – just enough technology to be helpful but not so much that it seemed more like computing than sewing. But as my craft skills and desires grew, I had to upgrade to another machine.
I kept my first machine and passed it down to my daughter. I still use it occasionally for quick crafts or for quick clothing repairs. She frequently uses it for cosplay costumes. At some point, she will outgrow it, and that machine will find a new home.
Instead of selling a sewing machine that is 20-plus years old, we will donate it. Usually when you think of donating, thrift stores come to mind, but there are a lot of places you can donate a used sewing machine. Here’s a few of them.
Where To Donate Old Sewing Machines
Charity Thrift Stores
Since they are first to come to mind as a donation spot, let’s talk about charity thrift stores, like Goodwill and others. The money goes into that organization to help other people in your community. Our community does not have a Goodwill, but it does have a thrift store founded on the same principles. Our donations are tax deductible since it is a charity thrift store. The organization that runs the thrift store uses the retail store as a way to provide training and job opportunities to its clientele – adults with developmental disabilities.
Homeless shelters can use donated sewing machines to make quick repairs to donated clothing they provide to the people they serve. They can also use donated sewing machines to make caps, scarves, and quilts that people can use. The shelters may even use donated machines to teach those served how to make their own clothing repairs.
Junior and senior high schools may also benefit from the donation of your sewing machine. Many already teach classes related to sewing or basic home economics classes. Some schools offer creative labs in which students make things. The donation of your sewing machine might just inspire a student designer. The athletic department may also be able to use it for quick repairs to torn jerseys. If your area school has a theater department, they may be able to use your donated sewing machine for costuming. Call your area schools to find out if they have a program that could benefit from your sewing machine donation.
Women’s shelters actually serve women and children, many escaping abusive situations. Teaching these women to sew provides a skill that will help them and their families in the future. They can make clothing repairs or make their own clothing. They can stitch up a gift instead of spending money to buy one. Some women’s shelters offer sewing classes, so they may really need your donation.
Disaster Response Charities
Charities that respond to needs caused by natural disasters could also benefit from a donated sewing machine, especially if it is portable. Organizations like the American Red Cross have to be mobile at a moment’s notice, so a lightweight machine that travels easily could be very helpful in making quick repairs to tote bags that may be used to carry supplies or to patch donated clothing.
Additional Places You Can Donate Old Sewing Machines
In addition to these ideas, you might also check with local libraries, civic clubs, church organizations, and children’s organizations like Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts to see if they would accept your donation. Your local Boys and Girls Club might also be interested in the donation to help teach young people how to sew. (They might even ask you to come share your skills!)
Things To Consider When Choosing a Place To Donate
No matter which type of organization you choose to donate your sewing machine to, here are a few pieces of advice:
- Include the sewing machine manual with it. You know how important they are. The new user of your old machine will need that information, too. If you don’t have the original copy, search online to find a downloadable PDF of it. Print it out and include it with your donation.
- Include the sewing machine feet. When you buy a sewing machine, it comes with several feet. If you have them, include them with your donation.
- Give your maintenance kit, too. Provide a small container of oil that your machine uses and an extra pack of needles if you have them.
- Clean your machine and make sure it is in good working order before you donate it. Write the last date you had it serviced on your sewing machine manual.
- Many donation centers have after-hours drop off locations. If at all possible, donate your sewing machine during regular business hours. This will allow you to talk to a person about what you have included with your donation. This is also important if you need a receipt for tax donations.
A Note on Organizations Seeking Sewing Machine Donations
Below are a couple organizations that specifically seek sewing machine donations. This is a brief list of those groups, but since I have no personal experience with them, I recommend you do your own research into them if you plan to take this donation route for your sewing machine.
Sew Much Hope is a Utah-based charitable organization that provides sewing machines to refugees in the United States and others across the world to help people find self-reliance and use their sewing skills to earn income.
The Sewing Machine Project, headquartered in Wisconsin, collects and distributes sewing machines to provide sewing skills to people across the world although most of their work is in the United States. They are charitable organization that hopes to help people build confidence and earning ability through sewing.